Once again, I'm doing the class review before I've finished all the projects from the class. I'm doing that in this case because it took me nearly 6 months to get the first of the two projects done for this class. Given my current schedule, it's likely to be another 6 months before I get the second project done. So, here's my review of Annie Unrein's Sew Sturdy Travel Organizers class.
If you're a blog follower, you've already seen my reveal of the first project, an organizing bag she calls the "Everything In It's Place Bag," or as I abbreviated it, the EIIP bag. If you follow me on Twitter or listen to my podcast, you've heard me whine. A lot. With great passion and commitment to my whining.
This isn't a particularly easy project, especially for those of us quilters who didn't come at quilting out of garment sewing. I've only had limited experience doing bags or any type of accessories, and much of that experience hasn't been particularly positive. I'm not a fan, as I have pointed out on many an occasion, of fiddly bits.
And boy, did this bag have more than it's fair share of fiddly bits. Namely, vinyl. More about that later.
It also had zippers which were a bit tricky at first. I've done a small handful of zippers in the past, but this was the first time I'd used zippers-by-the-yard, which raises the quotient of fiddly-bit in the zipper equation. I'll say, though, that by the end of doing this bag which had a grand total of 12 zippers and 16 zipper pulls, zippers no longer give me pause. I can also see the beauty of using the zippers-by-the-yard that Annie sells on her website; I'll advise, however, that you wait to watch where she talks about using those zippers before making your first zipper, which actually comes in the lesson before.
That's on my one knock on this class. It's not Annie's fault that I don't enjoy making bags. And it's not Annie's fault that I still don't enjoy making bags after taking her class. She helped me become more comfortable with certain things, but becoming more comfortable with something doesn't necessarily mean I'll start loving to do it. In any case, the one thing I will knock the class on is that once in awhile things are a hair out of order. You make the first zipper in one lesson, and then in the next lesson she explains how to work with the zippers. I was watching and working my way through the lessons so when I got to the one making the first zipper and didn't know how to put a zipper pull on a zipper, I spent 20 minutes on YouTube trying to figure it out. Then I get to the next lesson, and there she is, talking about how to put on a zipper pull. There are a couple of places like that, so just do what I didn't do:
Watch all the lessons all the way through, before starting the first step in the first lesson.
The only thing that I really struggled with was the vinyl. That was brutal. I spent a lot of time reading through the class discussions to see if others were having some of the same problems I was having and what the suggested remedies were; I found some helpful things there, so be sure to read the class discussions as well. (I talk about that in the previous blog post about this project.) Mostly, I was being stubborn and refusing to buy a Teflon foot when I wasn't committed to the idea of ever using vinyl again. That Teflon foot probably would've been helpful. I used Scotch Tape instead. It was okay.
Annie is clearly very experienced at teaching. I had no complaints about her style. Her instructions are very thorough as well. I kept the class material print-outs in front of me while watching the related steps on video--the two pair well. Her website is great--she has great bag designs and very helpful kits for making many of them, plus she sells all the bag-making supplies separately. More helpful, though, are her YouTube tutorials (also on her website). So if you're into making bags, she's the one to get to know: www.byannie.com. I do really like her supplies--I like how the finished bag feels, using her stabilizer and such. So if I am inclined to make bags in the future, I'll definitely be going back to her site.
So, to try to objectify this and review the class as a class, my personal feelings about bag-making aside, I'd say two thumbs up. She really takes you through a complicated process by breaking it down into very small, pretty manageable tasks. She explains and demonstrates pretty much everything; there are a couple of steps that she talked about but didn't demonstrate, and it would've been helpful to have those on video as well, but they weren't deal-breakers. I do feel pretty confident that I'd be successful at the cosmetics bag as well, whenever my schedule allows me to work on that again. And that's more than I'd have said when I started the first step of the first bag, so that's a mark in the plus column.
- 7 lessons, ranging from about 18 to 52 minutes, mostly in the 30-minute range
- The first lesson offers a short introduction, but then gets right into making the Everything In Its Place Bag.
- Lessons 1-4 are for the EIIP bag, lessons 5-7 are the cosmetics bag.
- Class materials are extensive--very clear, step-by-step instructions for each bag. In fact, at the start I found her instructions a little confusing because they are so complete; I'm not used to that. Once I figured out her approach, I did find them really well done.
Annie's bag designs in Annie Unrein's Sew Sturdy Travel Organizers class are great. Can't beat the functionality. So here's to my perseverance sticking with me to get the second of the two bags done sometime before I retire.
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